There comes a time in every bookstagrammer’s life when you want to take a photo of a certain book buuuut…
You don’t actually own the book.
This is quite the problem and I’m perpetually annoyed I do not live inside a bookstore!!! But there are so many reasons why we might not own the book. You can’t afford the latest release. You’re doing a cover reveal! You only read an ebook or audiobook, not the physical. The cover you have is ripped 👀or the cover you have is a super ugly edition. You want to talk about exciting upcoming releases that aren’t even in book form yet. You just !!! need a book !!!! and you don’t have it!!!
Now there are two ways to fix this issue, for example:
(1) you become MAGIC and when you snap your fingers, books appear, and quite frankly I recommend this option with my whole soul also can you please do it for me.
(2) you edit the cover in like the clever little cheesepuff you are deep down inside.
Editing covers into your photos is actually super simple…and, yes, free.
Photoshop? We do not know her. We are going to use Pixlr. Although I do want to be upfront in that I am not perfect at this and some covers are easier to work with than others! I have started editing covers in a lot to my #bookstagram photos, because I keep reading eARCs and want to talk about the books and books prices just flew through the roof since covid-19 and I do not have fulltime work 😩 my book wishlist grows and I yet wither. SO!! Here we go!
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Also my instagram is SO CLOSE to 70,000 followers so come follow me. 🥺 I am pretty cute.
First here are some general tips to keep in mind!
- It’s easiest to edit new covers on the top of old books.
- Also try very very (very) hard to match the cover colours up. You want to edit in a red cover? Put a red book in your photo.
- My aesthetic uses lots of flowers and I actually find having a bit of flower hanging over the cover is helpful for making it look realistic. (Will demonstrate later!)
- Books standing up are easier (in my opinion) than flatlays.
- I kind of sucked at this to start but got better!!
Also shout out to @thereaderandthechef, who is not only great but gave me a lot of tips to make my edits more realistic! Truly the best. 🥺💛 Hopefully these tips help you too! (Melissa’s edits are still better though. 😙)
Go to Pixlr.com/editor. Sometimes on chrome it doesn’t work!? (You have to go find the “old” version.) But I use it on Safari with no fuss.
Open up your image of choice! I’m going to edit in two upcoming releases that I’m excited for! King of Scars is staying the same 😚bless it for being so pretty. I’ve hung my crown off it because I don’t know how to edit around crowns.
✨TIP✨ I’ve made sure you can see the page edges of Beneath the Citadel and We Hunt The Flame. This helps everything look realistic when you layer the new cover on top.
And YES I do have a lot of books but new books are what people mostly want to see and the bulk of my collection is actually old, from back when I had access to $1 library sales and publishers sent SO many books to bloggers. However I am still privileged to have the books I have, and I work hard for them!
Download high resolution cover art! I actually DO NOT recommend getting it straight off Goodreads. It comes pretty crushed. I google the title and then look through images and find one that’s high res. Also look on publishers websites! They’ll have a good quality cover file there too.
They look so gorgeous and are coming out soon! 😍🥺 tell them to hurry up so I might hold them.
Click Layer > open image as a layer.
Next you want to click Image > free distort.
Also I often zoom in because I have tiny weak grandma eyes and I want to see the corners. Just fiddle with the sizing in the bottom left hand corner.
Now start BENDING this photo like it is the JELLO doing a YOGA PARTY.
So cute, so flexible 🥺💛
Match it up to the cover you’re editing over the top of! Sorry We Hunt the Flame!! But you know what they say about attractive younger siblings showing you up. It’s something we all go through.
✨TIP✨ I often erase the corners (this is why it’s helpful to have the same colour cover underneath!!) so that it looks a little more realistic. Real corners aren’t so sharp.
Go to Adjustment > brightness & contrast.
Have a fiddle around with these. Usually you want to make the cover contrast LESS. A real cover will look duller in your photo depending on light etc. Right now We Free The Stars is CRISP perfection which is too….perfect. Out with this. For this one I lowered the contrast AND brightness and thought it looked pretty good. Just mess around with this and see.
You can also work with the other options but I am both lazy and too nappish to bother understanding them.
And you’re DONE. 👀👌🏻
We’re doing this all over again for the next cover. With ONE difference. There are some flowers overlapping the corner of the cover!!
So using the eraser, just…very gently very slowly….erase around the flower petals. This takes a lot of doing and then undoing (I use control Z to undo) to make it as accurate as possible.
Also (AGAIN) this works best if you’ve got a matching cover colour underneath. You don’t have to be too precise.
….um, I mean your work!!
If you need to make adjustments, make sure you’re in the right “layer” (look in the right hand bar to click on the layers). If you need to redo it 3989 times then go on ahead and do so. I may be known to take a photo 7 dozen times till I know it’ll edit perfectly.
Now some covers ARE hard to work with. I find covers in block colours are the best, especially if you’ve matched the book behind it. Spine art isn’t easy to find online so avoid spines. Also fiddle around with everything! You’ll discover ways to make it look more realistic the more you practise.
Before I post on instagram, I also add a filter. This definitely helps that last touch of cohesiveness. (I just use the free filters in Koloro or Lightroom.)
Before and After
I hope this has been helpful and if you have any questions, leave them in the comments!